Starting today, Russia's Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Surveillance Service is banning virtually all imports of U.S. beef, pork and turkey products over the use of the growth stimulant ractopamine, which it says may cause health problems.

According to Chief Sanitary Inspector Gennady Onishchenko, the ban will remain in place until the U.S. can verify that all imports come only from ractopamine-free producers.

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"Apparently the ban on practically all U.S. meat and meat products will be long term," Onishchenko was quoted as saying by news agency Interfax.

Ractopamine, which is used to promote leanness in animals, has been banned in the European Union, Taiwan, China and Russia due to alleged health dangers. However, 27 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada and the United States, claim the meat from animals fed ractopamine is safe for human consumption.